04 September 2006

Military agent stripped naked beaten and burned by students-Guatemala

One example occurred on the afternoon of June 10, when three armed men entered the campus and shot and seriously wounded Víctor Manuel Valverth, the Engineering School's elected student representative to the University Governing Board. Moments after the attack, some twenty students wearing hoods over their faces came together to search for those responsible. The first suspect they captured was Baldomero Mendoza, who passed near the group on a motorcycle. The students forced him off his vehicle and upon checking his identification papers discovered that he was carrying a credential signed by a Treasury Police chief, attesting that the bearer was an honorable person in whom the authorities could trust.16 The students began to beat him, but Mendoza managed to escape.

The next suspect did not have the same luck. As the group of hooded students passed near the rectory, a man parked nearby allegedly pulled out a gun. Students rushed the man, took away his weapon and forced him to present his documents. His name was Adán de Jesús Melgar Solares and, as students had suspected, he was carrying a card identifying him as a confidential agent of the Jutiapa military base.

Melgar Solares may not have been one of those directly responsible for the attack on Valverth. But his captors saw in him one more member of the repressive apparatus. Stripped naked, the military agent was dragged through the halls of various academic units. In one of the University's plazas a leader of the action told gathered students that the man before them was responsible for the shooting of Valverth and asked those present what they should do with him. According to witnesses, many in the crowd called for his death. Melgar Solares asked for a chance to explain who he was, but the students ignored his pleas. They then carried him off of university grounds to the Avenida Petapa where they beat him and pelted him with rocks. Gravely wounded, Melgar Solares lay bleeding and unconscious in the street until students doused him with gasoline and then set him afire. He died later in the hospital.


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